|Volume 23 Number 5 May 2021
Brian R. Kenyon
Redemption is a beautiful blessing from God. Peter summarized, “Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:18-19). This particular word translated “redeemed” (from lutroomai) refers to being set free from bondage by some sort of payment – ransomed. This Greek verb is found in only two other places (Luke 24:21; Titus 2:14). Peter revealed three important realities about our redemption in these verses.
First, Peter revealed from what we were redeemed – “aimless conduct.” This term, also translated “vain conversation” (KJV), “vain manner of life” (ASV) and “futile way of life” (NAS), can refer to any life lived apart from God, but it is especially suggestive of the life of idolatry, which is often connected with futility (cf. 1 Kings 17:15; 1 Corinthians 8:4; Jeremiah 2:5, 8; Acts 14:15; Ephesians 4:17). This God-opposed way of life was “received by tradition from your fathers,” which means it was according to their family’s tradition. When people choose family first over God’s will, the result is inevitable: souls are lost, enslaved to sin and stand in need of redemption.
Second, Peter revealed by what we were not redeemed – “corruptible things.” The word “corruptible [perishable, ESV]” means subject to decay, perishable or mortal. It is from the same word used earlier, when Peter declared his readers’ faith was “much more precious than gold that perishes” (1 Peter 1:7). Gold and silver were usually used in ransoming slaves. A first century slave in the Greco-Roman world could be redeemed for a price ranging from the equivalent of sixty-six days’ wages to 233,333 days’ wages (Rogers and Rogers 596). However, when the Lord comes in Judgment (Matthew 25:31-46), no amount of gold, silver or anything of this world will be able to pay the price for our redemption!
Third, Peter revealed by what we were redeemed – “the precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:19)! Christ gave Himself as the “spotless lamb” of God (John 1:29). Christ’s blood is precious because: (1) it cleanses the conscience (Hebrews 9:14); (2) it gives access to God (Hebrews 10:19); (3) it continuously cleanses from all sin (1 John 1:7; Revelation 1:5); (4) it gives victory over Satan (Revelation 12:11) and (5) it, as here, rescues us from a sinful way of life (1 Peter 1:19).
Jesus died for all humanity (Hebrews 2:9), but only those who come in spiritual contact with His cleansing blood will be redeemed (Revelation 1:5). Baptism is how and where that contact takes place (Romans 6:3-4). Is redemption your reality?
Rogers, Cleon L., Jr. and Cleon L. Rogers, III. Linguistic and Exegetical Key to the Greek New Testament, The. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1998.
The Sovereignty of God
“God is the supreme authority and all things are under His control. God is claimed to be the sovereign Lord of all by an incontestable right [as the] creator… owner and possessor of heaven and earth.” This is one concise definition of God’s sovereignty. God is infinite in His power and wisdom. He has the authority to do whatever He chooses. The sovereignty of God is one of the primary themes of the great book of Daniel in the Old Testament. This truth is found in the first five chapters of the Book of Daniel.
Daniel 1:1-2 records, “And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his [Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon] hand, with some of the articles of the house of God…” Verse 9 reads, “Now God had brought Daniel into the favor and goodwill of the chief of the eunuchs.” None of these events happened by mere chance, but it was Almighty God working in the lives and the affairs of men for a purpose. This occurs throughout the Book of Daniel.
In 2:17-18, we learn that Daniel and his three Jewish friends sought God to reveal to them the disturbing dream that Nebuchadnezzar had and its interpretation. Verse 19 says, “Then the secret was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. So Daniel blessed the God of heaven.” In verses 20-23, Daniel, in his praise to God, mentioned that God “changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings…”
In 2:28-29, Daniel, in speaking to the king, said, “But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days, Your dream and the visions of your head upon your bed…” Daniel also informed the King that it was “the God of heaven” who had “given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory” (v. 38). Because of what God had planned according to His great power, “the king promoted Daniel and gave him many great gifts; and he made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief administrator over all wise men of Babylon” (v. 49). Further, Daniel had the king to appoint Shadrack, Meshach and Abed-Nego to positions of authority in Babylon.
In King Nebuchadnezzar’s praise of God, he said, “I thought it good to declare the signs and wonders that the Most High God has worked for me. How great are His signs, And how mighty His wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom, And His dominion is from generation to generation” (Daniel 4:1-3). Because of the arrogance and pride of Nebuchadnezzar, God sentenced him to “graze with the beasts on the grass of the earth,” have a “heart of a beast and let seven times pass over him” (vs. 15-16). The reason for this action was that the God wanted the king to learn, “In order that the living may know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, Gives it to whomever He will, and sets over it the lowest of men” (v. 17). This great truth is also emphasized in 4:32. In honoring and praising God, Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed, “He does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand or say to Him, ‘What have you done?’” (4:35).
In Daniel 5:1, Belshazzar “made a great feast for a thousand of his lords, and drank wine in the presence of the thousand.” He also had the “gold and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple which had been in Jerusalem, that the and king and lords, his wives, and concubines might drink from them” (v. 2). When they drank, they “praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze and iron, wood and stone” (v. 4). It was then that a hand appeared on the wall and wrote, “MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN,” which being interpreted, he had been weighed in the balances of God and was found wanting. Not only that, His kingdom was to be given to the Medes and Persians (vs. 25-28). Belshazzar had not heeded the lesson that his father had to learn, and that was “the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar your father a kingdom and majesty, glory and honor” (v.18). Because Nebuchadnezzar’s “heart was lifted up, and his spirit was hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him” (v. 20). It was then he was “driven from the sons of men, his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys. They fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till he knew that the Most High God rules in the kingdom of men, and appoints over it whomever He chooses” (v. 21).
In the writings of the prophet Isaiah, we read these wonderful truths: “Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure” (46:9-10). It was Jehoshaphat who said, “O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you” (2 Chronicles 20:6). As believers, we bow in worship, with reverence and awe, before the Great and Almighty God, Creator of the heavens and the earth, and the Father of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!